What does one do when one feels disempowered? What does one do when one feels one’s needs are being ignored, that one no longer has a voice? Well, there are several options.
If we feel that way, we can join one of the major parties and impress our opinions upon those leading the party through the branch system. We can try, but in all probability, that will end in tears.
We can disengage and go fishing or take up golf. We can simply disengage and count grains of sand, or we can voice our feelings through blogging that no one reads.
Another option is to voice our feelings, blogging to like-minded people who support us and affirm us. That is what contributors and readers of the AIMN do. We support each other in the hope that our voices will ultimately carry across the great divide and be heard by the major parties.
Some go to the extreme of starting their own political party. This has been a popular option of late. There is a glut of minority parties out there today, all started by people who were sick and tired of being ignored.
Starting a new political party is not that difficult. The recent surge in start-ups demonstrates this. It’s largely just a matter of paperwork. Getting it off the ground, however, is something else. Being heard and supported in great numbers though, is often a bridge too far.
Today, new political parties are like a poorly nurtured seed planted in winter. They sprout in the spring but die in the summer heat. Consequently there is one thing that they all have in common. None will ever bloom to their desired potential. None will ever form government. Not in a hundred years will that happen.
Yet, if we were to join them all together, make them as one party such that they become a much larger, single contender in the political boxing ring, there is a much better chance of their members being heard, of being listened to and having their concerns addressed.
Unity is strength. Which brings us to the point of this article. The Australian Employment Party was recently formed to extol the virtues of Modern Monetary Theory. On its own, it is just one more voice crying in the wilderness, one mostly ignored, one viewed by a sceptical electorate as another nut case collection of loonies having their moment in the sun.
Its co- founders, Iain Dooley and Tim Jones are not nut cases. Their raison d’être is to address the financial mismanagement of the government and the opposition who are welded to the neo-liberal philosophy of inequality. That’s right. Both the Liberal and the Labor party support a neo-liberal ideology that manages and promotes inequality.
Perhaps the Labor party is less inclined to this ideology than the Liberal party, but were they to deviate from their present manifesto, they would be sacrificing themselves to the outcry of the high priests of Capitalism and condemning themselves to the wilderness for generations to come.
The electorate’s response would be devastating and it would be terminal. Not because the electorate would know any better. But because, as captives to a biased media, they would never be able to recognise the benefits that would flow from a more equal society. They would never be given the chance.
Both Iain and Tim recognise the futility of forming a party that is unlikely to grow beyond cult status. Both realise that the only way to be heard and gain respect is to draw in more and more people from backgrounds as diverse as those that currently exist within that plethora of minor political parties already establish.
That is precisely what Iain is proposing. In an email sent out to members, he articulates the problem and the solution. It is an ambitious call, perhaps futile, but perhaps not.
Here is what he writes,
“I started work on the AEP because I wanted to do one thing:
I wanted to do senate estimates… with someone from treasury or the RBA and get them to admit on camera that the government is not dollar constrained.
That taxes and bond sales do not finance spending.
That we can adequately fund health, education, social security and full employment without tax increases.
That we don’t have to grovel to the private sector for jobs and perpetuate environmentally destructive industries.
That poverty and misery and exclusion and inequality are solvable problems with a couple of tweaks to how we run our economy.”
The full text of Iain’s email is here.
Each of these minor political parties has their own concerns which prompted their formation in the first place. From the Seniors United Party of Australia to Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, they all have a purpose and a goal. The beauty is that each and every one of them could be accommodated within the MMT economic framework.
Furthermore, and the most worrying thing for the major parties, is that at the last federal election they captured 24% of the primary vote, twice that of the Greens.
Imagine therefore, what a transformation it would be were they to combine with the Greens. At long last the two party dominance of the Australian political scene would have been smashed.
Now there’s something to think about!